Hampton University to stay online in spring 2021 semester, give more breaks for students


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton University will continue with virtual learning in the spring 2021 semester after input from students and staff.

Hampton President William R. Harvey made the announcement on Wednesday, saying “it is in the best interest of the entire Hampton University community” to do so after a review of coronavirus trends. Case loads around the country are surging this fall, and a potential COVID-19 vaccine isn’t expected to be available for most of the public until at least well into 2021.

“This was a difficult decision to make because we miss our students greatly, Harvey said. “We would prefer that all of our lives return to the normalcy we now recognize as “before the pandemic.” However, this is not presently possible. We cannot, in good conscious, allow students to return to campus under these current conditions, which might inevitably increase their likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.”

Other colleges in Virginia and across the country have reopened for in-person instruction with varying levels of success. Though the virus typically doesn’t cause serious complications in younger people, there have been cases of college students getting seriously sick. A few have even died. The virus has also taken a disproportinate toll on the Black community, something Hampton and other HBCUs are working to combat through testing programs.

Harvey says students for the most part are reporting virtual learning is going well, but they have faced additional stressors during the pandemic, including taking jobs and dealing with loved ones getting sick and dying from COVID-19.

To make things easier, Harvey says he’s implementing additional wellness breaks for Friday, February 12, 2021 and Friday, April 2, 2021 to supplement breaks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and spring break. He’s also asked professors to help students who may be in different time zones by recording lectures for later viewing.

“Each decision that we make is made with you in mind as we continue our legacy as THE Standard of Excellence. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay positive!” Harvey said in closing.

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